T&L providers use M&A to drive earnings and growth

Transport & Logistics (T&L) faces an era of unprecedented change, as digital and technological disruption and increasing competition from large geographically integrated groups conspire to win market share and squeeze margins in the mid-market. In response, we are seeing corporate transactions (increasingly cross-border) being used to improve efficiencies, differentiate offerings and to tap growth by getting ahead of the mega-trends. And with more than €200 billion of annual revenues at stake in Europe alone, there’s a lot to play for.

Key insights:
  • The competitive landscape is shifting in the T&L sector across Western Europe, as competition ramps up from large integrated groups and new tech savvy players (eg. last-mile). The market is focusing on efficiencies, differentiation, and new growth trends.
  • Deal activity remains high and stable: we are seeing far more cross-border transactions, driven by geographic integration strategies, e-commerce growth, and more open and deregulated markets.
  • Strategic investors are seeking complementary businesses that can be bolted on to  existing operations, while private equity is seeking high growth niche segments, and underperforming businesses that require modernization (technology) and a strategic rethink. Private equity is extremely active, present in around half of all deals.
  • Valuations in the European mid-market vary widely, depending on positioning. As a general rule, niche and specialist segments and less capital intensive business models are receiving the highest EBITDA valuation multiples.
  • Value-added business models are vital, as competition from Eastern Europe (in road freight), new tech players and large integrated groups continue to win market share and squeeze margins.
  • Smart players are using technology to add value and improve efficiencies. Technological and digital capabilities are expected to be an important M&A driver in the future, highlighted by the large increase in ‘log-tech’ investments over the last three years.

The full report is available on request here



Kilian de Gourcuff

Managing Partner - France

“The T&L sector is going through major transformation, and using deals to improve efficiencies, differentiate offerings and to lock into important new growth trends. M&A is being seen as the most effective repositioning tool, with a high level of buy-side demand in the mid-market from both strategic and private equity investors.”

Jan Willem Jonkman

Managing Partner - Europe
Benelux, Nordics

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